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Stock Watch: Sweep week for three unheralded 20-something starters

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Scherzer's 204 K's through Sunday are second most in the AL -- behind only Justin Verlander. (US Presswire)  
Scherzer's 204 K's through Sunday are second most in the AL -- behind only Justin Verlander. (US Presswire)  

Bull Market

1. Kris Medlen, Braves SP

Putting anyone else in the top spot would be a severe injustice. The previously unheralded right-hander Medlen ran his scoreless streak to 28⅓ with his latest victory. And lately, for him -- and for the Braves -- there have only been victories. Atlanta has won a franchise-record 17 straight games when Medlen has started.

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No less than Chipper Jones (@RealCJ10) called Medlen "Madduxesue" in a recent tweet, and there is no higher praise. Medlen (6-1, 1.71 ERA) has gone from reliever to ace in a hurry as the Braves fight not to repeat their collapse of a year ago. With a fellow who wins every start, it's hard to imagine they do repeat the disaster.

2. Max Scherzer, Tigers SP

Despite the Tigers' unexpectedly unremarkable overall performance this season to date, one executive said he's still predicting them to win the World Series, and Scherzer is the main reason. Well, Scherzer and ace Justin Verlander.

The one-two pitching combo might be the best in the game right now, as Scherzer is 4-0 with a 0.62 ERA over his last four starts. He's won five in a row and whiffed at least eight in nine starts in a row. Until Sunday night, Scherzer led the American League in strikeouts with 204. The man to pass him? Verlander, of course.

3. Brett Anderson, Athletics SP

It's a clean sweep for 20-something starting pitchers this week, but it's been that kind of year. Anderson only recently returned after a 13-month absence following Tommy John surgery, and he came back as the ace of a team that seems destined to shock the baseball world and make the playoffs.

It's been an amazing story all year in Oakland, and the A's are at their best right now that Anderson is back and pitching like their main man again. His 6-2 victory Sunday over the Red Sox -- the amazing A's ninth straight overall -- made him a quick 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA. He has a 0.70 WHIP thanks largely to allowing only 11 hits in his 20 innings. Exciting times in Oakland, indeed, and Anderson's return makes things even more interesting.

Bear Market

1. Alfredo Aceves, Red Sox RP

Well, it's been an eventful several days for Aceves.

After throwing a fit in manager Bobby Valentine's office when he wasn't given one save opportunity, the Red Sox suspended the over-emotional reliever three days without pay. Funny thing is, he should have lost his closer's job earlier. Aceves blew two straight vs. the Angels, losing leads in 14-13 and 6-5 defeats that set the Red Sox off on their latest skid. Valentine had been his biggest supporter, though he didn't stop to think about that.

Then on Saturday, now in his lesser role, Aceves was caught arguing with team leader Dustin Pedroia after Aceves knocked the ball out of catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchhia's glove on a popup in the 7-1 defeat in Oakland Saturday. Valentine and Pedroia haven't always seen eye-to-eye this season, but after the dugout dust-up, Valentine made clear whose side he was on, saying, "It's Alfredo being Alfredo, and Dustin being a baseball player."

2. Michael Young, Rangers INF

Young had a nice game Sunday in the vaunted Jurickson Profar's successful debut (Profar homered), gathering two hits to raise his batting average to a very un-Young-like .267. But the batting average isn't the issue.

Young, one of the most respected leaders in the American League, just isn't driving the ball like he used to this year. He has RBI in only three of his past 23 games (including one Sunday), and has only one home run in his last 99 games. Fortunately for Young, he is surrounded by players having their usual productive seasons in Texas, so it hasn't hurt the team with the best record in the A.L.

3. Ubaldo Jimenez, Indians SP

He hasn't done anything especially terrible lately, but mediocre start after mediocre start can take a toll on one's stats. In this case, having allowed at least three runs in his past seven starts, Jimenez now has the second worst ERA in the league at 5.61 (to Ricky Romero), the second most walks with 84 (also to Romero, who is 0-11 in his last 12 starts and made this unwanted list last week) and the most losses with 14.

Jimenez started this spring earning a suspension for beaning ex-Rockies teammate Troy Tulowitzki in spring training, and things haven't gotten much better from there. By some measures, they've actually gotten worse.

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